During our hot Australian summer, our pets feel the heat just as much as we do. However, unlike us pets can’t sweat. In order to regulate their body temperature they must pant. If unable to do so our pets could suffer from heat stress and heat stroke, and could become dangerous or even fatal.
Dogs and cats who are of geriatric age or those who have shorter airways (pugs or bulldogs) and respiratory problems are at more risk of overheating than others because they are unable to regulate their body temperature as quickly.
Tips for surviving the summer sun:
- If possible, keep your pet indoors in an air-conditioned environment
- Leave many water bowls with ice blocks around, especially in cool shady areas.
-If outside, fill a kiddies wadding pool with 1-2inches of water and leave in a shady spot so your dog play in it. Also, ensure lots of shady areas for your pet to lie in.
-Avoid exercising your dog, especially around midday when our hot sun seems to reach it’s peak temperature.
-Groom your dog or longhaired cat to suit the weather and avoid fur matting.
-Never leave your pet in the car, even when parked in the shade, as the temperature inside a car becomes very hot quickly which one of the leading causes of heat stress or stroke and can be rapidly fatal.
Signs of a heat stressed pet:
Sticky, dry gums
Appears stressed or agitated
Lethargic or reluctant to move
If you suspect your pet has heat stress seek veterinary advice immediately. Wet them down with luke-warm water and ensure they have plenty of water to drink near them. Do not cover them with a wet towel as this creates an insulation layer which traps the heat.
It is important that even if your pet seems to recover fine to get them checked out by a vet to prevent organ damage from the dramatic body temperature change.